Warriors rookie Nico Mannion had met Steph Curry before being a second-round draft pick in 2020 during his time in high school competing at Under Armour camps, but hadn't shared a bench with the two-time NBA MVP until he made his professional debut in January.
Mannion spent the month of February running with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League bubble in Orlando, Fla., but got an up-close look at Curry's competitive fire boiling over during a 130-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Last night in the huddle was I think the first time I've really seen him that animated," Mannion told reporters Friday. "I think everyone knows he is a competitor, probably one of the best competitors I'd say, you can see that just from how much he wins and this organization's won and he's kind of the one behind it, him and Draymond, that was really the first time I've seen him that animated and he got his point across, we had a talk in the locker room after the game and we're going to try to get this thing back on the right track."
Curry continues to play some of the best basketball of his NBA career, but the Warriors' record hasn't caught up with his borderline MVP-caliber play. The Warriors are 19-19, and in a tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for ninth in the Western Conference standings.
A win in the 3-point contest and a run at the All-Star Game MVP might have reinvigorated Curry during the All-Star break, and with the Warriors trailing by double digits in their first game back against LA, Steph lit into his teammates during a timeout.
Mannion scored 10 points in his first game out of the All-Star break, but also committed four turnovers in just 21 minutes.
If the Warriors want to climb out of the periphery of the playoff picture, they better hope Curry's point indeed got across, as their next opponent will be the red-hot Utah Jazz, currently sitting atop the West standings.